Analysts See 'Unproven' Technology, Reliability Slowing Electric Car Acceptance

44% of consumers still express interest in electric vehicles, Pike Research finds.

Published: 15-Nov-2010

BOULDER, Colo.-- The first highway-capable plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) for the mass market will be available for sale by the end of 2010. These vehicles, which will initially include the battery electric Nissan Leaf and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, will enable drivers to reduce both gasoline expenses and greenhouse gas emissions. However, according to a new survey from Pike Research, these selling points may not be enough to overcome key objections among some skeptical consumers – namely, the concerns that PEV technology has not yet been proven, and that PEVs may not be reliable as traditional gasoline vehicles.

“Despite the skepticism of many consumers, the early adopter market should easily meet the industry’s expectations for the first few years of electric vehicle sales”
“The electric vehicle industry has been very focused on addressing so-called driving ‘range anxiety’, the term used to describe consumers’ qualms about the effective range of a PEV on a single charge,” says senior analyst John Gartner. “But the fact is that a ‘wait-and-see’ approach about the technology itself was a greater issue for consumers in our survey. It could easily take several years for mainstream car shoppers to get comfortable with the idea of electric vehicles.”

However, adds senior analyst Dave Hurst, the flip side of Pike Research’s survey was that 44% of respondents stated that they would be “extremely” or “very” interested in purchasing a PEV with a driving range of 40 to 100 miles and an electricity cost equivalent of $0.75 per gallon. “Despite the skepticism of many consumers, the early adopter market should easily meet the industry’s expectations for the first few years of electric vehicle sales,” says Hurst.

Other key findings of the survey are as follows:

Pike Research’s report, “Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey”, analyzes results from a web-based survey of 1,042 consumers based on a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample of adults in the United States. The report examines the dynamics of consumer demand for PEVs, fast residential charging outlets, and workplace, public, and private charge points. It includes a detailed analysis of price sensitivity and optimal price points for PEVs, as well as data related to typical consumer driving patterns that will affect demand for such vehicles. The report also includes comparison of demand among different demographic segments. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, and Building Efficiency sectors. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com or call +1.303.997.4619.

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